The first of many promised beta tests for Street Fighter V just concluded a few nights ago. Being released only for the Playstation 4 and PC, players who pre-ordered the game (either physically or digitally for PS4) were given access to the special beta version of the game. This first beta was used to stress test the online servers and work out any bugs before release. Included with this special version were 6 playable characters from a yet to be finalized roster. Players could test drive Birdie, Ryu, Nash, Cammy, Chun Li and an aging M. Bison for some fierce online battles.
At first, it was extremely difficult to connect to the game. It seems that Capcom did not estimate the amount of players that would be connecting and problems arose from the beginning. Players were treated to a title screen and messages about not being able to connect for the large part of the timed beta. For a time, Capcom shut everything down and attempted to try again, and this time most of the past issues were cleared up. Connecting was fast and finding a battle was quick with minimal lag in the fights.
Graphically, the series looks as though it has made the jump to next-gen perfectly. Looking sharp and clear while at the same time retaining that “Street Fighter” design that everyone is familiar with. The animation looked extremely fluid right down to the smallest detail. A few strange elements in the clothing or effects could be noticed here and there (like Birdie’s Chain clipping through him) but considering that this is an extremely early beta, things like this are acceptable with the hope they are cleared up when the final product releases.
The designs of the characters reflect the amount of time that has passed between Street Fighter IV and V. All of the characters are noticeably older and have seen significant changes. As mentioned before, M. Bison was hit the hardest with the aging stick, looking more like a distinguished old man than a crazy, buffed out dictator. Even though these characters look like time has got the better of them, they can still pack a punch when the fight begins.
Control is just as fluid as ever. With either the standard PS4 pad or a Fight Stick players will feel right at home. Some moves have changed from previous games in the series, but thankfully you can test everything out in the training lobby while waiting for a connection.
Audio has also stepped up. The music used in each battle feels very much like it belongs in the Street Fighter universe, mostly consisting of rock tracks and techno beats. The series has been known for bringing some great fighting tracks, so I expect more awesome music to come. Voices actually reflect that time has passed with the characters as much as their new visual designs. Ryu sounds like he’s been through some interesting things since we last saw him, while Cammy and Chun Li also sound like they’ve matured a great deal.
This is the first phase of the beta that will also extend to PC in the coming weeks. Players who have already participated in this beta will be allowed to continue testing future betas as they are scheduled, so if you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet, there is still time to jump in and test things out. So far, things are looking great for the next installment of one of the greatest fighting game franchises of all time. Let’s hope the next beta test continues on the same track.